Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of smoking: a systematic literature review

J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Mar;21(3):129-40. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0471. Epub 2015 Feb 24.


Objectives: Smoking is a chronic process in which craving and negative affect are considered the main barriers to maintaining abstinence in patients who have gone through treatment. Mindfulness-based interventions have presented encouraging preliminary results in follow-up lasting up to 6 months. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic literature review on the effects of mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of smoking.

Methods: Of 198 articles on mindfulness and smoking, 13 controlled empirical studies were selected for the analysis. The search included papers published through April 14, 2014. The databases used were Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Scopus.

Results: Scientific interest on mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of smoking has increased over the past decade. All articles reported promising results, especially for smoking cessation, relapse prevention, number of cigarettes smoked, the moderation of mindfulness on the strength of relationship between craving and smoking, and the development of coping strategies to deal with triggers to smoke. Most of the articles corresponded to pilot or feasibility randomized controlled trials with low risk of bias regarding random sequence generation, attrition, and reporting. However, few articles reported sufficient data on selection, performance, and detection bias.

Conclusions: Mindfulness appears to induce positive effects on mental health, which might contribute to the maintenance of tobacco abstinence. Despite the promising results regarding the responses of tobacco smokers to mindfulness-based interventions, additional well-designed clinical studies are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*